Eddie Alvarez calls MMA rankings “nonsense”
Alvarez is a top-five ranked lightweight in the world on nearly every rankings list out there. He could fight in any promotion, but chooses to compete under the Bellator banner.
Alvarez explained why he’s with Bellator Fighting Championships on Wednesday and not the UFC.
“I think flexibility. I think that fact that when I speak to Bjorn (Rebney) when I have a big win, we both sit down and we strategize. We’re willing to co-promote. That’s a lot of advantages for a fighter that most fighters don’t get in the UFC or Strikeforce and things of that nature, “ said Alvarez.
“What it did was it allowed me to go out and go in DREAM and go in Strikeforce if I was able to and fight the better guys. Bjorn was ready and willing to do that for me as well as pay me what I felt I deserved, so that to me was the better choice,” he said.
“They’re growing consistently and so am I, and I’d like to help build the brand as well as my brand at the same time. And the network we’re on now, MTV2, every fighter, not just myself, will be exposed to millions of people, and they won’t have to take a monster pay cut to do so,” added the Bellator lightweight champion.
“A lot of UFC fighters, they have to pay to get that kind of exposure. They get it taken out of their check in order to sort of have that popularity that they have. I didn’t have to take that pay cut and I’m still being able to be exposed to millions of fans and viewers.”
Alvarez doesn’t believe there’s many options for a top level mixed martial artists especially after the Strikeforce purchase by Zuffa LLC, parent company of the UFC.
“I think the only options right now, you’ve got the UFC and you’ve got Bellator. That’s it. We’ve got to pick one and go with them, and right now my loyalty is with Bellator,” he said.
His only complaint with the Chicago-based fight promotion is he’d like to be more active.
“Last year a lot of people expected me to fight a lot more, but I think people forgot I had surgery at the beginning of the year. I was coming off surgery on my meniscus, so it was to my advantage that I actually wasn’t as active last year so I could recover and heal,” he said.
“This year I definitely want to be more active, and that’s something me and Bjorn are going to have to sit down and address. I would like to fight at the very least three times, and at the most five. I like to stay busy, and it is on my mind. It’s often on my mind, and that’s just something that me and Bjorn are going to have to sit down and work out the details on.”
Alvarez was asked about rankings and the fighter gave a candid response, calling them subjective, a popularity contest and nonsense.
“I understand that in order to get in the rankings, you have to first gain popularity. And I’ve been saying this over and over. There are going to be guys in the next couple of years from Bellator who are going to be ranked in the top-10, and that’s not necessarily because they are better than the UFC guys. It’s because they’re going to be just as popular, so they can’t be denied rankings,” he stated.
“They’re very subjective and the rankings have a lot to do with whether you’re in the UFC or not, and it’s very political,” continued Alvarez. “I think it’s more of a popularity contest than a talent contest. Luckily I’m popular enough to be able to get in there, and I fight well as well.”
“You’re going to have guys who are unknowns who are very talented, but once they become known they can earn their ranking. Rankings to me are just a way to negotiate my money, to negotiate my money with a promotion. Other than that they hold no bearing in the who’s who and who can beat who. This No. 5 can beat No. 3. That’s all nonsense. A No. 1 guy can lose to a No. 10 buy any day of the week. It’s really nonsense. It’s just how we get paid and how we negotiate our pay to me.”
Alvarez defend his Bellator lightweight title for the first time at Bellator 39 on April 2 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn. against Season 2 Tournament winner Pat Curran. The event airs live on MTV 2.